Algeria: Bomb Boss Busted


October 13, 2007: In the last ten days, operations against terrorists have left about three dozen dead, most of them terrorists. There were also several dozen arrests, as police continued to track down those responsible for recent bombings and attacks. One of those attacks was on foreigners working in Algeria. In response to that, and al Qaeda threats to concentrate on going after foreigners, the French company Michelin has ordered the families, of its French executives and technicians, back to France. This is only about a hundred people, but the places where the families live would be difficult to guard, given the al Qaeda willingness to use suicide bombers. The Michelin factory will remain open. This plant provides jobs to nearly a thousand Algerians and is an important economic symbol. Michelin shut down its Algerian operations in 1993, when the war with Islamic terrorists was getting underway. Four years ago, the Michelin plant re-opened, and more foreign firms are coming in. Al Qaeda is trying to keep them out.

But the biggest development this week was the death of Sofiane Abu Fasila, the second in command for Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb. Fasila was the guy who ran day-to-day operations, and was the chief planner of the recent terror attacks. Fasila was caught at a police checkpoint, and tried to shoot his way through, with two associates. All three terrorists were killed. Fasila was responsible for the use of suicide bombing in Algeria, a tactic that Islamic terrorists had not previously used there. This tactic angered a lot of Algerians, and made it easier for the police to track down the terrorists responsible for the attacks of the last two months. These have left over sixty people, mostly civilians, dead. This is a mistake Islamic terrorists make again and again. If they kill a lot of civilians, they turn more civilians into police informers. Without solid support from the general population, it's only a matter of time before the terrorist cells are hunted down and destroyed.

The Internet has made it easier for terrorists from many different areas to keep in touch, and reform terrorist cells destroyed in a country. That's how the Algerian terrorist organizations recovered from the huge losses of the last five years. But the Internet also makes it easier to monitor terrorist operations. While some communications never get revealed to intelligence agencies, the terrorists never know exactly which aspects of their plans are known to the police. The end result is that it's nearly impossible to carry out a large scale terrorist campaign, using the Internet for communications. But it is possible to organize smaller operations, such as the recent movement of terrorist reinforcements, and bomb making materials, into Algeria. The violence here could go on for years, especially if the Islamic terrorists continue to get cash from wealthy patrons in the Persian Gulf region.




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